Today is my twenty-seventh birthday. I am squarely in my late twenties now, which just feels so odd. I know that to many people 27 is young. I don’t feel young this year. I feel heavy. A lot has happened since my last birthday, most notably the birth of my son of course. This is my first birthday as a mother. It is my last birthday before I am a doctor. And I guess I feel like it’s the first birthday as a grown-up. I’ve lived in the limbo of academia for a long time, I’ve always felt adult but this year there are so many responsibilities to keep track of. I don’t know where the time has gone. All day I’ve felt like I was moving through water, present but separated.
My husband brought me a dozen beautiful roses and made me dinner. And then produced a seriously enormous piece of very chocolate cake, which I made an effort to eat but only got about a quarter of the way into. I still couldn’t shake that weight from my shoulders. I thought maybe a bath would help. Usually I take baths with my son, but this time was just for me. I ran the water hot hot hot and poured a generous amount of lavender bubbles in. I closed the bathroom door as my son started crying on his way to bed. (He doesn’t want to go to sleep. Ever. More on this later.) I sank into the water and waited for the weight of the day to wash away. The same worries keep tumbling around in my head like sea glass. They should be worn smooth by now but there are sharp edges still. Am I doing the best I can for my son? Am I providing the kind of care my patients deserve? Does my husband know how much I love him and depend on him? Does my family realize how important they are to me?
The water grew colder and the worries remained. I sat and listened to my son crying. The sound of tiny bubbles crackling. My breath going in and out.
Here’s to a year of adventures. Happy birthday to me.